One of us had the opportunity to witness todays official announcement event for the new Camaro, an event including a sea of thousands of very local Camaro and auto enthusiasts, many driving in to the event in their own classic Camaros. But the official announcement from the folks at Chevy today (well, it was the official announcement unless you count GM CEO Rick Wagoner announcing it earlier today at the big auto seminar in Traverse City, MI — but really, that was so boring they didn't even bother with pictures) that the Camaro is back was probably the worst-kept secret in the automotive industry. So given that, what did we learn? Well, GM's new pony'll hit the roads as a 2009 model, with production to begin in late 2008. The new Camaro will be almost identical to the concept car, and the front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sport coupe will feature an independent rear suspension and your choice of manual or automatic transmissions and with a V6 or V8 engine. No word on price tag and no word on...well...there's not much word on anything else, although Wagoner was clear today in saying there's no plan yet for a Firebird version for the Pontiac badge. Yeah, and that was what they were saying about the Camaro too. We've got the full release after the gallery and the jump. Also remember to check back later this afternoon when we'll have some video from the event as well as some photos of some of the classic Camaros welcoming their newest brother to the family.
Auto Buyers Have Spoken: GM Will Build An All-New Chevrolet Camaro
Next generation of classic sport coupe goes into production in late 2008, on sale in 2009; will be almost identical to wildly popular concept unveiled at NAIAS
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - Dear sports car fans: General Motors heard you loud and clear.
GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner announced today that GM will build an all-new version of the Chevrolet Camaro sport coupe based on the award-winning concept that stole the spotlight at the North American International Auto Show and has ignited the passion of car enthusiasts around the world ever since - even spurring consumers to start petition drives and send in certified checks in hopes of placing early deposits.
"The overwhelmingly enthusiastic response to the Camaro Concept continues to remind me of the uniquely iconic place our products can have in customers' hearts," Wagoner said. "Camaro is much more than a car; it symbolizes America's spirit and its love affair with the automobile."
The all-new Camaro will begin with early production versions at the end of 2008 and will go on sale in the first quarter of 2009. "The new Camaro will be almost identical to the concept, a thoroughly modern interpretation of the 1969 model, considered by many to be the best design of the car's first generation," said Ed Welburn, GM's global vice president of design, who owns a 1969 Camaro SS. The front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sport coupe will feature an independent rear suspension, and will be offered in a variety of models with the choice of manual and automatic transmissions and V-6 and V-8 engines.
Chevrolet General Manager Ed Peper said the new Camaro will appeal to both men and women, and unite customers with fond memories of previous Camaros with those who first experienced a Camaro when the concept was unveiled in January.
"We intend to make the all-new Camaro relevant to younger buyers while retaining its appeal to current fans," said Peper. "The beauty of the best Camaros is that they have always been beautiful to look at with performance that rivals expensive European GTs. Yet they were practical enough to drive every day and priced within the reach of many new-car buyers."
In fact, the Camaro Concept design team embodies the universal appeal that Chevy envisions for the car: The core team reporting to the lead designer ranges in age from 27-35 and came from all over the world, yet they all had similar experiences growing up with a love for the Camaro and American performance cars. Their concept redefines the Camaro for both existing and new generations of fans in a contemporary way with responsive performance and modern technology.
Peper said Camaro will complement Chevy's already-popular portfolio of performance vehicles led by Corvette and including its broad SS lineup.
An American icon
The Camaro has touched many lives - and graced many garages - with nearly 4.8 million produced between 1967 and 2002. More than 1,000 Camaro clubs exist globally, and thousands of Camaro web sites pay homage to the sports coupe. A recent report on America Online's Top Searches of 2005 placed Camaro in the Top 10 car searches for the year.
Chevrolet is America's No. 1-selling automotive brand. With the largest dealer network in the United States, Chevy is the leader in full-size trucks and the leader in sales of vehicles priced $35,000 and above. Chevrolet delivers more-than-expected value in every vehicle category, offering cars and trucks priced from $9,995 to $78,175. Chevy delivers expressive design, spirited performance and great value with standard features usually found only on more expensive vehicles. For more information on Chevy cars and trucks, please visit www.chevrolet.com.
About General Motors
General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the global industry sales leader for 75 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 327,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries. In 2005, 9.17 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall. GM operates one of the world's leading finance companies, GMAC Financial Services, which offers automotive, residential and commercial financing and insurance. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.
Ray Gets His Mullet on: Wagoner Says Camaro Coming in 2009 [internal]